Laser Treatment for Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are marks or lines which can appear on the skin as a consequence of skin growth. They are one of the most unappealing and difficult skin conditions to treat. It appears both in men and women. The stretch marks occur in the middle layer of the skin (dermis) that helps to maintain the skin shape. When the skin is continuously stretched, the dermis layer breaks down and forms stretch marks. They appear as reddish to purplish lines and gradually fade to a paler color.
When the skin is overstretched the normal production of collagen is disrupted resulting in the formation of stretch marks. They often appear during pregnancy, body building activity, and in puberty. They are usually found on the stomach, thighs, upper arms, buttocks, back and breasts.
Topical lotions and creams can temporarily reduce the appearance of stretch marks but may not provide the results you desire. Laser therapy is an alternative treatment to effectively change the appearance of stretch marks and scars without damaging the overlying skin. Pulse dye laser is the treatment of choice for this procedure.
Laser treatment for stretch marks can be performed in an little as 10 minutes but may require 1 hour depending on the severity as well as the location of the stretch marks.
The two types of lasers used to treat stretch marks are the pulse dye laser and XTRAC laser. Early stretch marks can often be treated successfully using pulse dye laser treatment. Older stretch marks which show whitening and thinning of the skin do not respond as well to pulse dye laser treatment. There is a new form of laser known as XTRAC laser recently developed for the treatment of older stretch marks. This laser is a new and innovative treatment technique for psoriasis and vitiligo conditions also.
Pulse dye laser - It is used to treat early stretch marks. The laser sends a beam of yellow light to the skin. It works by targeting both the blood vessels that supply blood to the skin of the stretch marks as well as increasing collagen and elastin, the building blocks of skin. Topical anesthetic cream is applied before the procedure to minimize any discomfort. Each pulse of laser light feels like the sting of a rubber band snapping on the skin. This dye responds well to young stretch marks which are red and itchy. The laser treatment will thicken the area and can significantly improve the appearance of the stretch marks. The results are evident gradually over time and may require multiple sessions for best results. Allow a two month interval between treatments to see the changes. There may be bruise like marks and pinpoint bleeding after the procedure. These are temporary and will resolve before the next visit.
XTRAC laser – This type of laser is used to treat older stretch marks. It works by emitting short, powerful pulses of ultraviolet light which stimulates the pigment producing cells of the skin to make melanin. This results in a darkening of the white stretch marks and brings the color of the stretch mark closer to the natural skin color making them less noticeable. Multiple sessions at bi-weekly intervals are necessary to achieve maximum results. Maintenance sessions every 2 to 3 months will be required to maintain the color. Pre-laser treatment with STRY- E Pak is recommended at least 1 month before the laser session to help prime the skin and promote greater collagen formation.
- Painless and non invasive
- Time efficient
- Cost effective compared to other medical alternatives
Some temporary side effects are scarring, blistering, or bruising. Skin color also may change in certain individuals. Redness and swelling may also appear.
Post operative care
After treatment use the creams prescribed by your dermatologist and avoid exposure to the sun.